A Weekend With Dame Lynley Dodd

Last weekend I had the pleasure of meeting Dame Lynley Dodd, at three different events at the Bundaberg Art Gallery.

Friday night was for educators and parents. In a relaxed conversation with curator Penelope Jackson, Lynley shared snippets of her life story in a chat that was both entertaining and enlightening. Some little treasures I took away;

On language and word choice: “It’s about introducing them in the right place and having fun with it. Context makes meaning. And I’m not at all repent about that.” (Hear, hear!)

Lynley shared two anecdotes where children have adopted her rich vocabulary. When out at the shops, and asked what he would like for tea, one young lad replied, ‘A snippet of veal.’ In another instance, a couple were having a disagreement, when their child piped up, ‘Stop that cacophonous noise!’

“Unless your name is Julia Donaldson, Lynley Dodd or Dr Seuss, never write a story in rhyme.” Mem Fox

Between 1982 and 2010, Lynley completed one book per year. (Hairy Maclary has got to be a bit big for his boots, and now takes some managing – and time –  which has meant a drop in productivity.) In January, she starts perusing her ideas folder, for inspiration. During the ‘writing’ process, she balances words and illustration – visualising what the artwork could be. By August she has a small dummy to send to her publisher. September she starts final artwork for a December completion.

To be honest, I was most impressed (and encouraged) by that first six months! We all know how effortless Lynley Dodd’s rhythm is – but perfect rhythm and rhyme is a craft and it takes time to get it right. Even Lynley Dodd has to work at it!

On Saturday the families were out in force, for a festival fun day in the gallery park. There were so many there, when Lynley moved inside for the book signing, the queue meandered throughout the whole lower floor of the gallery.

On Sunday Penelope Jackson lead a small group Writing Masterclass, with Lynley adding the following snippets of wisdom throughout the afternoon.

What Makes a Good Story?

  • When writing a PB, you have to go down one road to the end, with no diversions.
  • A read-aloud needs to have flow and resonance – it needs to be singable.
  • Everyday stories are often the best ones – relatable and realistic.
  • Five Comfort Elements of a good story:
    1. Rhyme
    2. Rhythm
    3. Humour
    4. Suspense
    5. Home

Lynley says all writers need an ideas notebook/folder. A lot of Lynley’s inspiration is drawn from newspaper clippings. When discussing the legality of writing other people’s animal stories, Lynley said, ‘change them – make them your own.’

Lynley emphasised that her stories always start with 6mths thinking/tinkering time; marinating ideas. ‘I’m a firm believer in putting things aside and coming back to them.”

Illustration:

  • The last picture is very often the one Lynley thinks about first.
  • Visualises images whilst writing text.
  • Sends a detailed dummy in August – doesn’t change much after dummy stage.
  • Pencil rough at final stage – including the cover. (Lynley does her own lettering.)
  • Uses a lightbox to transfer pencil roughs to final artwork.
  • There was a discussion about the difficulty in finding good quality paper these days, that doesn’t dry too quickly and take the colour and life out of an illustration.
  • Uses gouache pens and fibre-tipped waterproof pen.

“It can be a bit soul destroying, sometimes, when the proofs come back and they’re not the colour you’d envisaged.”

We were all delighted when Lynley read her latest picture book, ‘Scarface Claw Hold Tight!’ – with beautiful pausing and expression.😻

To view this week’s #PoetryFriday link-up, (and some lyrical pi-ku) visit Margaret, at Reflections on the Teche.

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World Penguin Day Poem – Adélies

Technically yesterday was World Penguin Day – but since yesterday was ANZAC Day, deserving of its own reflective contemplation and gratitude, I’m running to American time and posting my penguin poem for Poetry Friday.

A number of years ago I was given Irene Latham’s name in Tabatha’s Yeatts’ Poetry Swap – which absolutely thrilled me, because not only is Irene such a beautiful person, but we also share a love of Antarctica – and we had in fact just done our own little book-swap earlier that year… with Irene sending me her picture/poetry book, ‘When the Sun Shines on Antarctica’. (I just hunted up the post I did at the time of receiving Irene’s book, and funnily enough, it was just-on two years ago.)

My favourite poem from the book was, ‘Adélie Seeking Adélie‘… so when I was given Irene’s name in the poetry swap, I knew what poem I was choosing for my mentor text. For whatever reason, I never did get to share it on my blog – so I’m sharing it here today.

Irene’s poem runs down the left. The photo is just one of my (many!) faves, taken from our time in Antarctica, earlier that same year. (You have no idea how much that holiday has influenced my writing – or how much I still yearn to go back… (It is like a physical tug inside me, I tell you!))

Carol Varsalona is hosting Poetry Friday at Beyond Literacy Link. I’m sure she will have a whole bunch of poetry treasures for us. And don’t forget to get up-to-date on the Progressive Poem, with Linda @Write Time. Not many days left, now!

In the meantime, scroll through some penguin hashtags and enjoy these shuffling, sliding, soaring, sleek little characters. Like these two!🐧🐧 (I would include the original @AusAntarctic post, if I could find it, but alas…)

Is There Anybody There?

I’m rather thrilled to be asked to judge the Primary category of the 2019 Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards. As a teacher, I used these awards to give students a real audience. I know what a big deal these awards are in the classroom! To be on the other side (and expecting to read thousands of students poems) is exciting – and a wee-bit daunting.

But mostly, it’s a huge honour – because of course, Dorothea Mackellar’s ‘My Country‘ has been burnt into my mind since first learning those impassioned words. (My overseas readers, if you haven’t read it, then you must, here.) ‘Waltzing Matilda’ is all well and good – but if we were ever to talk about a new, Australian anthem? Look no further than ‘My Country’!

It inspired my Australia Day golden shovel (above left) during #MoPoetry2019 – using the strike line from the final stanza of ‘My Country’’, Dorothea Mackellar’s iconic poem, above right.

Intrigued? You might enjoy learning more about Dorothea, with this YouTube, by Libby Hathorn.

If you’re a classroom teacher and want a poetry form to kickstart kids writing, the golden shovel is a great form to try!

HOW TO:

  1. Find a strike line (any length) from an existing poem and attribute it.
  2. Put each word from the strike line at the end of individual lines in your poem… If your strike line has 4 words, your poem has four lines. (The strike line in my poem is written are in bold. )
  3. Now fill in the gaps to make your poem. Lines can be any length.

See also Seeds of Hope for another example of a golden shovel.

Today’s Poetry Friday is hosted by Irene Latham, creator of the Progressive Poem I took part in earlier in the month. (You can catch up with the poem as it builds at the links below.) Thanks, Irene, for hosting today (during your month of happy poems!) and for sharing the Progressive Poem with the world. 🙂

The Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem – April 2019

2 Kat @ Kathryn Apel
4 Jone @ DeoWriter
5 Linda @ TeacherDance
6 Tara @ Going to Walden
8 Mary Lee @ A Year of Reading
9 Rebecca @ Rebecca Herzog
10 Janet F. @ Live Your Poem
13 Doraine @ Dori Reads
17 Amy @ The Poem Farm
18 Linda @A Word Edgewise
20 Buffy @ Buffy’s Blog
21 Michelle @ Michelle Kogan
22 Catherine @ Reading to the Core
25 Jan @ Bookseestudio
26 Linda @ Write Time
27 Sheila @ Sheila Renfro
29 Irene @ Live Your Poem
30 Donna @ Mainely Write

Relief

Today is International Women’s Day, and for Poetry Friday, Catherine Flynn suggested we post about women we admire. This poem was inspired by my mum, who was diagnosed with bladder cancer over 7 years ago. Within two months, Mum had radical surgery to remove the tumours – and her bladder.

At the time the cystectomy was first discussed, I remember reeling, wondering how could a person live without a bladder? Now I know, you cannot just live without a bladder, but you can also love life!

Relief
 
Public toilet;
three cubicles
three ladies
engaged.
 
Two ladies squat.
 
A third 
  faces the bowl,
     hoists her dress,
         cups the bag,
            turns the tap
               and drains
                  her bladder.
 
Gone in a whoosh
like her peace of mind
when first she heard the words
 
bladder cancer.

But miracles and medicine
restored life and lifestyle 
and living.
 
Gone is the bladder,
                  the cancer,
                           that first rush of fear.
 
And the casual observer
would never know
unless
you were 
waiting…
watching, 
mindlessly noting 
feet beneath toilet doors.
 
Three cubicles,
three ladies
engaged. 
 
Two squat
one stands.

© Kathryn Apel - All rights reserved

Mum continues to be a blessing to those around her, and now uses her experiences to encourage and actively support others facing similar challenges. I’m so proud of my mum!❤️

Thanks Catherine, for hosting the Poetry Friday round-up this week, at Reading to the Core.

February is Finished?

After a Month of Poetry in January, February saw me back at work on submissions and WIPs and generally discovering a whole lot of things that I still need to do! (And blogging was apparently not one of them…)

I created a little book of poetry for my Mum’s birthday, using the design Sylvia Vardell kindly shared. The book was made up of poems I’d written over the years, of experiences I’d shared with my mum – or poems I’d written about/for Mum. Most she’d already seen (some family funnies, and others serious and heartfelt) but it was just good to get them all together in one cute little space. And since Mum is short – and I am not – the ‘Little Book’ seemed appropriate.

This limerick is one of the newbies. Mum often laughs that when I went on Year 7 camp, all the other mums were leaning over, giving their kids goodbye hugs, but Mum was reaching right up to hug me. (Looking back at photos, I think she’d been doing that for a number of years, by that stage.😂)

A Short Limerick

My mum was not one to look UP to,
for reasons that she never 'up' grew.
Not a' tall!
She was small.
That's why she adopted the up-do.

(Yet still she is one to live up to.)

© Kathryn Apel - All rights reserved.

This post is me raising my hand for #PoetryFriday. As we welcome Autumn in Australia (though I’m not sure that I do – because what has happened to our Summer rain and much-needed February floods????😶), Linda is looking to Spring in her post hosting today’s round-up. (There’s a challenge there, too, if you’d like to try it.) Thanks, Linda!

Wrapping Up #MoPoetry2019

For #PoetryFriday I offer you the final week of #MoPoetry2019 Insta-poems. You can read the full collection to-date on my Insta page, @Kat.Apel.

Day 25:

Day 26:

(The second pic with the final stanza from ‘My Country’ – including strike line.)

Day 27:

Day 28:

Day 29:

Day 30:

Day 31:

View this post on Instagram

Ending #MoPoetry2019 with a #haibun for my girl; Amber. Twenty-two years of loving and I can still see that little poddy and the longing in those eyes – though her steps are much more laboured now and there’s no tail-wagging, frisking with delight. —– I’ve not done a Month of Poetry quite like this, pairing pictures and poetry each day. It’s been fun and I've loved the deeper level of creative play it has inspired! Thank-you to all those who played along, either sharing your own poems💕, comments or likes. It's been interesting/encouraging hearing your responses, and seeing which insta-poems resonated with you. Maybe I’ll scatter some more Insta-poems on my page throughout the year… #MoPoetry2019 #haibun #InstaPoetry #poemaday #authorsofinstagram #poetryofinstagram #poetrygram #poetry #thankyou #myworkisdone #scaredofcows #notscaredofAmber #ruralQLD #coungrygirl #farmersdaughter #grazierswife #beefcow #droughtmaster #grazier #ruralQldphotographer

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In a nutshell, a Month of Poetry looks like this…

Thank-you for letting me share each week retrospectively through the PoetryFriday posts. It’s been so much fun reading your comments – and knowing what you’ve enjoyed, and why. It’s also been lovely sharing snippets of my daily life with you. Special thank-you to those who have taken part at different stages – either using the #MoPoetry2019 hashtag on instagram, or by messaging their poems to me. Sharing is fun!

This week we’re The Opposite of Indifference – in fact we are (as always) in LOVE … with poetry.😍 You too can share the love, with more great #PoetryFriday posts on Tabatha’s blog.

Even More #MoPoetry

I do love diarising January in poetry – and have been especially enjoying the dual creativity of picture and poetry. (And the process of combining the two! Such fun.)

Here is this past week’s #MoPoetry2019 for your perusual of the week-that-was. Ending rather excitingly, too, I must say!

Day 18:

Day 19:

Which sparked this little conversation with @annashop_cronulla;

Day 20:

View this post on Instagram

The worst thing about writing a poem-a-day (and sharing them each day!!) is that sometimes, you’re posting a poem that doesn’t feel finished. This is one of those times… (Yes, there have been others.) FORM: Golden Shovel HOW TO: Find a strike line (and attribute it) then put each word from that line at the end of your poem… Fill in the gaps with your own words. In truth, I adore Golden Shovels. But I think I will make a rule to avoid lines with ‘you’ in them – because I should have learnt by now, ‘you’ always complicates a poem! #vulnerable #notreadyyet #bloom #whereyoureplanted #beyourself #motivation #inspiration #waterlily #flowersofinstagram #mybackyard #GoldenShovel #MoPoetry2019 #InstaPoetry #poemaday #authorsofinstagram #poetryofinstagram #poetrygram #poetry

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Day 21: If I thought it was bad posting a poem that doesn’t feel finished, it is worse to look back on a poem you’ve posted and find a BLATANT MISTAKE!!! Urgh! This is what happens when you become too obsessed with design and layout. (Though this is the least creative of all my Insta-Poems – but I was playing with two pictures, so… #stilltooktoolong)

I have inserted an edited version into this post – because it’s bad enough looking at the mistake every time I open my insta-page. (I decided to leave it as it was there (with a blushing comment!)… because of course I didn’t notice it until late in the day…🙄 #nobodyisperfect #iaintnobody…🙃)

I was asked if I wrote limericks. Not many – but here’s one, for a bit of fun. I don’t follow cricket – so if there is a Matt or a Gina playing, this is not about either of them! #justforfun #playingwithwords#betterthanplayingcricket😉#watchinggrassgrow #cricket#backyardcricket #summerfun#MoPoetry2019 #InstaPoetry #poemaday#authorsofinstagram #poetryofinstagram#poetrygram #poetry #rhyme #wordplay

Day 22:

Day 23:

Day 24: (Why, hello Good News!)

This week we’re going to Walden with Tara Smith, so join the #PoetryFriday excursion for more great posts. And pop back here next week for the final instalment of #MoPoetry2019! Looking forward to seeing what the week produces. Have a great one.

More #MoPoetry2019

Welcome poetry peeps! Once again I’m linking to my #MoPoetry2019 Insta-Poems for PoetryFriday. This week marked halfway… Rolling downhill now! Thank-you Michelle Kogan, Carol Varsalona, Linda Baie and Jone MacCulloch for also jumping in and sharing the creativity! It’s been fun. I’m looking forward to another week of word art.😊

Day 11:

Day 12:

Day 13:

Day 14:

Day 15:

Day 16:

Ooops. Turns out I was getting ahead of myself – and today is only Thursday! (All day!!) So – here is one more Insta-Poem, to round off my week of #MoPoetry2019.

Day 17:

If you’ve got a fave, I’d love to hear it. It’s always interesting to know what appeals to others. 🙂 If you’re tempted to join in with some of your own, you’ll find us at #MoPoetry2019 on Instagram.

You’ll find the full #PoetryFriday roundup here; http://missrumphiuseffect.blogspot.com.

G’day Poetry Friday Peeps!

G’day! How wonderful to welcome all you Poetry Friday people, not just to my blog, but Downunder. Yes, the round-up is coming to you from Australia, where it’s the middle of summer (soooo hot!) – yet beautiful, none-the-less. So, slip into your togs, (perhaps I can tempt you for a dip in our beautiful Burnett River, later?) find a cool shady breeze, (you might need to make one) take a wedge of watermelon, or a mango cheek, then kick back and enjoy.

I’m in the process of writing a poem-a-day as a snapshot diary-of-sorts for the start of 2019, which I’ve been sharing as Insta-poetry. Perhaps you’d like to take a wander through the week with me before, you plunge into a host of poetry posts from around the world. Day 1, 2 and 3 featured in last week’s post, and on Instagram, but feel free to click back. 🙂 (I would delete the Instagram captions from this post, if I could, but alas…)

Day 4:

Day 5:

View this post on Instagram

Yowzers! Sliding in a wee-bit late with this one – because the poem I was hoping to post just would not come together! (Maybe another day?) There is nothing quite like a time-constraint to make your brain freeze – and I am reminded yet again of why I don’t like NAPLAN! (You have no idea how many poems I scrapped in the past hour. I’ve often wondered what would happen if a child produced an exquisite/emotive haiku for a NAPLAN writing sample. :P) Anyway, for Day 5 #MoPoetry2019, I give you a haiku, capturing the serenity of the Burnett River. I love the River Walk of an evening. . . #MoPoetry2019 #haiku #poemaday #authorsofinstagram #poetryofinstagram #poetrygram #Bundaberg #lovebundy #BurnettRiver #lorikeets #InstaPoetry #riverwalk

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Day 6:

Day 7:

Day 8

Day 9

Day 10

I’m using the hashtag #MoPoetry2019 on Instagram. You’re welcome to join! There’ll be a newbie up from me today… and more to come each day this month. Meanwhile, the Poetry Friday linkup is below. Can’t wait to check out all your goodies. 🙂

Share your Poetry Friday links here. All are welcome to read… and be inspired! 🙂

Click here to enter

Insta-Poetry

I hope your year has got off to a 🎉cracker🎊 start. 2018 was an amazing writing journey, and I am hoping it keeps rolling into 2019. It’s already been quite productive, writing a synopsis and query letter for that historical Antarctic verse novel I worked on throughout 2018, (So excited about that!) and putting down some words for a new picture book that has been rolling around in my mind the past 12 months. AND … In the spirit of Month of Poetry from years gone by, I spur-of-the-moment started writing a poem-a-day as a snapshot diary-of-sorts for the start of 2019. Some Insta-Poetry! I’m not sure I’ll stick with it for the full month (I am quite happy to fall down a hole with other writing projects) … but wordplay is always a good thing, and good fun! If you want to jump on board, I’m using the hashtag #MoPoetry2019 on Instagram. (It’s just me, at the moment.🙂)

If you’re intrigued by that flower in the top pic, you can see more on my instagram, starting at this post. My camera was a wee-bit busy over the 12hr period it bloomed so beautifully.

Sylvia has the roundup this week, at Poetry for Children. Next week I’ll be hosting the #PoetryFriday roundup – so check back then for links to poetry posts around the world and be inspired! For now… I’m off for a crit & chat with some lovely local kidlit peeps. I may be gone for a while… 😂